Acne affects more than 95% of people. It is most common in teenagers, although it can start in babies or adults. In acne, the skin is oily with pustules (whiteheads) and comedones (blackheads) due to blockage and inflammation of the hair follicle; some acne leaves scars. The face is most commonly affected, followed by the back and chest. Many people with acne, especially those with more severe acne, have close relatives with a history of the condition. Hormonal factors are also relevant, and diet may have a small effect. It is important to use appropriate skin care products that don’t block the pores; ‘non-comedogenic’ and ‘oil-free’ products are best.
Acne can have a huge impact on people’s wellbeing, mental health, self-image and confidence. Fortunately there are many effective treatments. These include creams and lotions, oral antibiotics, hormonal treatments such as the the oral contraceptive pill, or the oral retinoid isotretinoin, which can only be prescribed by a dermatologist.